Russia and the United States. Despite détente between the two countries at the end of the Cold War, in the hearts of many they have always been enemies.
A young woman. Tall, blonde, attractive. She strolls slowly towards the U.S. Embassy, checking her purse as she does so. This contains her wallet, a small note-pad and a bag of makeup; highly acidic eyeliner, eye shadow that explodes when exposed to oxygen and fatally poisonous mascara with a brush sharper than diamond. It also contains a small golden pocket-watch.
She looks at the tall, marble building ahead of her and a faint smile touched her lips at the thought of it in flames.
The young woman mounts the stairs and enters the building. As she views the crowd of businessmen, she spots the person she is looking for. A young man, no more than 22, stands with a gun and a uniform at the entrance to security. A complete stranger to her, but perfect for the completion of her plan. Putting on the look of a bewildered tourist, she walks up to him, politely asking for the visitors center.
The young man, seeing only an attractive blonde who is obviously interested in him, turns on his charm, or lack thereof. After pointing her in the right direction with a grin that would have looked over-excited on a clown, his eyes remain on her receding figure. Noting this, the young lady makes a show of accidentally turning her heel and falling to the floor. The guard, startled at so brilliant an opportunity to display his gallantry, rushes to her side and helps her up. She leans heavily on him, making a show of the pain in her ankle.
She clings to him for perhaps a little longer than necessary. The guard decides this is the time to make his move. Casually, as though it is of very little importance to him, he asks her if she would enjoy a dinner date with him that night at 7:00 at Café la Rouge, a small street-side café some ways north of the Embassy. With a brilliant smile, the woman accepts the invitation. But before letting go entirely, she kisses him on the cheek. Feeling she may have overdone it just a tad, she glances at his face. She is immediately reassured by the puppy-like look of adoration on his face.
The young man, pink to the tips of his ears and maintaining the same expression as he watches her leave, fails to notice a glittering gold watch, now residing in the pocket of his uniform.
Several hours later, the guard glances at his watch. Ten ‘til six; perfect. He would have plenty of time to get ready for his dinner date. Grinning at the thought of another kiss from the beautiful blonde, he clocks out and heads to the locker room to change. As he undresses, he hears a faint clinking noise coming from his pocket. He empties its contents to find a shining gold watch.
Strange, he thinks to himself. I must have picked it up during my shift. I’ll just return it to the Visitor’s Center. With that, he clicks open the top to observe the face of the watch. There is a puff of shining powder, a flash of light, and silence.
The explosion could be heard all through the city.
Several miles away, sitting at a two-person table in Café la Rouge, Russian KGB agent Nadia Pakes sips her coffee serenely as the sirens begin to wail. Once again, her work will make headlines.